What exactly makes Eric Church’s “The Outsiders” a country song? Is it his accent? Well, everybody from North Carolina talks like that. It’s certainly not the song’s arrangement. This is borderline heavy metal. The chorus kicks in like the Marshall amps at an AC/DC concert.
Toward the end of the track, it morphs into a progressive rock groove that sounds a little like a White Stripes tune. It rolls with with plenty of electric guitar that bursts out in fits and starts and even sounds a little like progressive rock in a few places.
Furthermore, what gives Church -- who will headline one night at Stagecoach next year, by the way -- the right to call himself an outsider? Sure, he may be speaking out for other outsiders, but he sure sings these lyrics like they’re coming from a first person perspective.
One gets the impression Church recorded such a non country sounding single simply because he can. This is the same man that recorded a song called “Lotta Boot Left to Fill” early on in his career, where he gave props to Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash and called out all posers. I guess once you attain mainstream country success you can turn your back on any ideals you may have bragged about having when you started.